Soccer-Sane inspires Germany to big win over Iceland


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup - UEFA Qualifiers - Group J - Germany v Armenia - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - September 5, 2021 Germany's Leroy Sane in action with Armenia's David Terteryan REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

REYKJAVIK (Reuters) -Winger Leroy Sane scored one goal and made another as Germany made it three wins in a row with a resounding 4-0 victory over Iceland in World Cup qualifying Group J on Wednesday.

The Germans took the lead in the fifth minute when Sane played in Serge Gnabry to score, and after a lengthy VAR review for a possible offside, the goal stood.

The visitors added a second 20 minutes later when Antonio Rudiger was left unmarked to score with a header from a Joshua Kimmich free kick.

Iceland almost pulled one back at the start of the second half when Johann Berg Gudmundsson's curled effort hit the post and Albert Gudmundsson fired home the rebound, but he was offside in the build-up and the goal was chalked off.

A constant threat with his quick dribbling and precise passing, Sane effectively killed the game off when he rifled the ball into the roof of the net after another flowing German attack 11 minutes into the second half.

After a shaky start to qualifying including a shock 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in March, the Germans have rediscovered their scoring touch, but were still guilty of a few glaring misses.

Kai Havertz wasted a three-on-one opportunity by firing narrowly wide with the goal at his mercy and Timo Werner somehow failed to put Lukas Klostermann's pass into an empty net.

Werner made amends by adding a late fourth that hit the left-hand post and bounced out before spinning back across the line to round off an encouraging team performance.

The Germans have taken a maximum nine points from their first three games under new coach Hansi Flick, scoring 12 goals and conceding none.

"We only had a few training sessions. Our goal was to win the three games, and we achieved that. We have taken a step forward," Flick said.

"We're not at 100% yet, but the team is on the right track. The guys are implementing things the way we imagine."

Flick added that there was room for improvement.

"(Too often) the last decisive pass was not correct, The timing wasn't right, these are things we have to do better," he said.

Germany top the group on 15 points, four ahead of Armenia. Romania are third on 10 points with four games left to play, with Iceland fifth on four points.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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